Gal 2:6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.
The Apostle Paul was not being arrogant when he made this statement. He was proving that his gospel was Christ’s gospel with which Christ had entrusted him and that it did not originate in man. In doing so, in this verse, he also warns us against undue regard for those who “seem to be influential.”
Barrett Gritters, professor in the Protestant Reformed Seminary, recently wrote an article (The Standard Bearer Magazine, March 2019) entitled “How Could Any Protestant go ‘home’ to Rome?” Listen to one statement he made in partial answer to this question:
There is no pope in Evangelicalism, but there are many little ‘popes.’ They are the presidents of their ministries, the senior pastors (think CEO’s) of their mega-churches, the celebrity speakers on the conference tours, the big names that make money for the publishing houses. How much weight do these heavy-weights carry in their circles? How often do Christians look to them as their authority rather than Scripture?
Bingo. There it is. So many professing Christians are so enamoured with celebrity worship in their churches and denominations, and so many are too lazy to study the Word for themselves, that they simply swallow what these heavy-weights dish out to them. Even if that dish is abusive!
2Co 11:20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.
Consider John Piper. Mr. Big, for example. How much money has he made for the publishing companies? How many throngs of people who claim to know Christ have flocked to hear him speak at conferences, even though he teaches things that horribly oppress victims of evil. He teaches, in case you didn’t know, that there is NEVER a reason for divorce that God approves of. Never. Not even the victim of the most cruel sociopathic domestic abuser is allowed to divorce. And yet if you criticize John Piper to most professing Christians (I say “professing” because by their fruits you cannot see Christ in them), they will be very irate with you. How dare you say anything against Pope John.
Think it through. Where do we see the false teachings parading as God’s Word coming from? Where are the scandals of evil-doings breaking out just about every week? Where are the enslaving traditions coming from that Christians accept without question, just as the Galatian churches were doing when Paul rebuked them? You know the answer. Most of these things are trickling down from the little popes being exalted as if they spoke as prophets and apostles.
So stop it. Let’s all just stop it. Over the years my purchase of Christian books has radically reduced. More – my use of Christian books has greatly been diminished. Not all. I love G.K. Beale and his books on biblical theology that give us insight into the overall theme of the Bible and enable us to better understand the parts. William Hendriksen’s commentaries are wonderful. But all in all I must say that the books I used to be so excited about and just had to get hold of, the conferences I used to attend….all of that for the most part I have jettisoned.
Because I have realized that they not only did not help me see and know Christ better, they actually interfered with my ability to do so.